Hot Prospects - Bill Good

30 replies
Still trying to improve my cold calling skills. Or maybe lack there-of. I just read Hot Prospects. I like his approach on cold calls. I'm going to try it next week and keep track of my results.

Typically I'm trying to overcome initial objections- I'm not interested, etc.

But Bill's method is to simply thank them politely and hang-up. It's the low-hanging fruit method. You only want the people who are actually interested from the very beginning. You only focus on them. Anybody else, you politely thank and hang-up. Because you're gentle about it, you can reach out again later down the road.

Im on the fence as to whether or not this is superior to trying to at least get the person to listen to what you're offering. I'm sure it's much less stressful, but you need unlimited numbers to call.

Opinions? I know there are differing opinions on this.

If you haven't read the book, I would recommend checking it out. I had been putting it off for awhile. It's a good read though.
#bill #good #hot #prospects
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  • Profile picture of the author savidge4
    Originally Posted by StevenTylerPjs View Post

    Still trying to improve my cold calling skills. Or maybe lack there-of. I just read Hot Prospects. I like his approach on cold calls. I'm going to try it next week and keep track of my results.

    Typically I'm trying to overcome initial objections- I'm not interested, etc.

    But Bill's method is to simply thank them politely and hang-up. It's the low-hanging fruit method. You only want the people who are actually interested from the very beginning. You only focus on them. Anybody else, you politely thank and hang-up. Because you're gentle about it, you can reach out again later down the road.

    Im on the fence as to whether or not this is superior to trying to at least get the person to listen to what you're offering. I'm sure it's much less stressful, but you need unlimited numbers to call.

    Opinions? I know there are differing opinions on this.

    If you haven't read the book, I would recommend checking it out. I had been putting it off for awhile. It's a good read though.
    There is a couple of ways to look at this. First and for most I am about as far from a brow beater as you can get.. so I don't argue and thank them for their time and move on.

    1 way to look at this and react is to simply call the next name and number - easy enough

    Another way would be to be at this all day and hear not interested not interested not interested - and start pressing the issue.

    A 3rd way to look at this is to realize that "Not interested" translates directly to "you have given me nothing to be interested in" Ill say that again "Not interested" translates directly to "you have given me nothing to be interested in"

    You: Hi my name is Bill and Im calling today about life insurance.

    Them: Not interested

    You Hi my name is Bill and Im calling today to talk about life insurance and how it can help you and your family in yours and their greatest time of need.. is that something you might be interested in?

    ( JUST AN EXAMPLE - and overly probably a bad one - I don call call life insurance so have no clue )

    But you get the idea.. you have to open with a statement of INTEREST.. or its an easy "Not Interested" response. Try an opener 10 times, and if you get "Not Interested" change it.. try it again 10 times, and again and again, until you get a positive response. 1 Positive response out of 10 is a good start.. and over time you can refine this to 2 out of 10 and maybe 3 out of 10.

    Actually work with a targeted list of some sort, and you can get into the 50 and 60% range most times.

    Hope that Helps!
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  • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
    Originally Posted by StevenTylerPjs View Post

    Still trying to improve my cold calling skills. Or maybe lack there-of. I just read Hot Prospects. I like his approach on cold calls. I'm going to try it next week and keep track of my results.

    Typically I'm trying to overcome initial objections- I'm not interested, etc.

    But Bill's method is to simply thank them politely and hang-up. It's the low-hanging fruit method. You only want the people who are actually interested from the very beginning. You only focus on them. Anybody else, you politely thank and hang-up. Because you're gentle about it, you can reach out again later down the road.

    Im on the fence as to whether or not this is superior to trying to at least get the person to listen to what you're offering. I'm sure it's much less stressful, but you need unlimited numbers to call.

    Opinions? I know there are differing opinions on this.

    If you haven't read the book, I would recommend checking it out. I had been putting it off for awhile. It's a good read though.
    There are a few schools of thought on this.

    You can just go for the low hanging fruit.

    You can try to keep everyone on the phone until you sell them or they hang up.

    You can try to start a "relationship" where you call back until they talk to you in more depth.

    Is your offer easy to explain in a sentence? Do you have unlimited numbers to call? You may want to just go for the low hanging fruit.

    Is your offer more complex? Is it only applicable in certain situations? Certain types of businesses? Is your list smaller? You may want to develop relationships to convert them eventually.

    And you can do both. The people that are ready...you can close now, and the ones that are going to be ready eventually...you can keep calling them back.

    And....it also depends on what kind of person you are. I'm a transactional person. I'm thinking of the deal. I just want to make sales. But some (maybe most) are more relationship oriented. So they should be more patient...and keep after the same list of names...as they slowly come around.

    Also..are you calling to make an appointment, or to make a sale on the phone? That matters as well.

    Added later; By the way, the "You can try to keep everyone on the phone until you sell them or they hang up." idea (I just quoted myself. That's funny) is the worst one. You'll end up spending all day with time wasters, that can never buy. Every beginner salesperson makes that mistake, and some never get out of it. They spend most of their time talking to people that are nice and friendly....and are never going to buy.

    Added a tad later again; Every day, we get (her at the store) between 15-25 robo calls selling Google SEO type services. Are you sure you don't want to just drop in small businesses, ask to talk to the owner...and go from there?
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  • Profile picture of the author Jeffery
    Me: Sitting in a lawn chair and whittling a toy train at a flea market. Prospects strolling by stop and look around. Big sign over examples that reads "BY ORDER ONLY" with a happy face. "COLD TEA ON THE HOUSE. HELP YOURSELF NEIGHBOR" and a plate of homemade cookies under glass. Most families children love the cookies.


    Most people like to look. Most men are looking for a place to get lost (hide) while their wife shops and enjoy a iced tea on a hot day.


    Sooner than later someone always says something like "You sell whittled trains?"


    Me: "Yea, puts cookies on the plate." with a smile

    Thats it. They approached me. I didn't try to sell them anything. Not even signs with prices. Just one sign that reads "MAKE AN OFFER." And a poster (or web page) with happy families holding wood toys. The rest is on me.


    Sooner that later the wife sees her husband and stomps over with a purpose and I give him a heads up and little mans advice. "Tell her you noticed the trains and thought it would be perfect for the kid's Christmas"


    Rapport established! Repeat sales established. Dammit man - that was a good cup of tea
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  • In days long, long gone by we ran a non scientific test...

    One group using Bill's methods.

    The other using "I'll handle every objection do or die so I will"

    As far as I can remember both got more or less the same appointments.

    At the end of the week...

    One group was still full of energy, happy and stress free and looking forward to doing it all again.

    The other was exhausted, emotionally fried and dreading picking up the phone.

    I'll let you guess which "technique" did what.


    Steve


    P.S. Helpful hint - if I had to cold call although I have bazzing answers to 97.79% of objections (The "I absolutely, genuinely and honestly have no money" objection is a bit of a stickler).

    Regardless of any objection handling ability...

    I would much prefer to get the ace clients quickly and painlessly and would automatically use "Hot Prospects."
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by Steve The Copywriter View Post

      In days long, long gone by we ran a non scientific test...

      One group using Bill's methods.

      The other using "I'll handle every objection do or die so I will"

      As far as I can remember both got more or less the same appointments.

      At the end of the week...

      One group was still full of energy, happy and stress free and looking forward to doing it all again.

      The other was exhausted, emotionally fried and dreading picking up the phone.

      I'll let you guess which "technique" did what.


      Steve


      P.S. Helpful hint - if I had to cold call although I have bazzing answers to 97.79% of objections (The "I absolutely, genuinely and honestly have no money" objection is a bit of a stickler).

      Regardless of any objection handling ability...

      I would much prefer to get the ace clients quickly and painlessly and would automatically use "Hot Prospects."
      I recently figured out my sales results (over decades) talking to people in their homes.

      If you take 100 random households in my state...

      60 won't let me in the door no matter what. If I call, they will hang up, If they see an ad, they will ignore it. They won't buy from me no matter what. I call them Highly Unlikely prospects.

      25 will talk to me...forever....They will never buy,but they enjoy talking, shopping, telling stories. Some are lonely, some have no money, but they won't ever buy. A huge discovery for me was that these were a large percentage of prospects, and how to recognize them before I wasted much time with them.

      10 may buy from me, if...I see them at the right time, I don't anger them, they like what they see, they see the value.....these people are worth seeing. Maybe half of these people end up buying from me.

      About 5% are what I call Highly Likely Buyers. They share at least one factor (out of many) that indicates that they are highly likely to buy from me. That doesn't mean they are interested...just that they will buy from me, based on several factors that exist before I got there. Maybe 90% of these people buy from me.

      My huge discovery was how to only see the 15% that had a reasonable chance to buy from me, and concentrate of the 5% that were highly likely to buy from me...in addition to the very occasional person that was just interested in buying before I got there.

      Anyway, it's a journey.
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    • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen

      P.S. Helpful hint - if I had to cold call although I have bazzing answers to 97.79% of objections (The "I absolutely, genuinely and honestly have no money" objection is a bit of a stickler).

      Regardless of any objection handling ability...
      Steve,

      Start a payday loan company! lol

      Alex
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  • Great post from Mr Whitacre.

    My guess is the maths applies to most if not all sales.

    So, my view is...

    ...to get to the exclusive 5% why bother having endless "battles" trying to handle the objections from the 95%.


    Steve
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  • Hi Steve,

    Actually no - I was (mainly) selling Ad space (which eventually led to my copywriting career).

    Way back then "Hot Prospects" was called "Prospecting Your Way To Sales Success."

    I know, not such a catchy title.

    But what a game changer it was.

    For me it made cold calling and getting the sales much faster and easier.

    Overall the results were great sometimes astonishingly great.

    And I never experienced the cruel affliction which can seriously affect many cold callers - the dreaded "Phone Phobia Syndrome."


    Steve


    P.S. One thing I remember from the book (at least I think I do) - you kept a list of all the "No's" and called them back about 6 weeks later and a surprising number turned to "Yes."

    This may have been by pure good chance - or maybe you are seen as a non hassling sales person.
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by Steve The Copywriter View Post


      P.S. One thing I remember from the book (at least I think I do) - you kept list of all the "No's" and called them back about 6 weeks later and a surprising number turned to "Yes."

      This may have been by pure good chance - or maybe you are seen as a non hassling sales person.
      Yup. In my example, these are the 10% that were just not called at the right time, or had another reason for not buying right now, although they are still good qualified prospects.

      If I were going to call a list of 300 event planners (to book speaking gigs), I would keep calling them back, maybe every few months, wearing them down. After a couple of contacts, a relationship is formed. Eventually they will give in to at least a serious discussion.

      When I used to call them, I'd just ask once. Maybe a failing on my part.

      If I had a list of 100 companies I really wanted as clients...I'd just keep calling, sending letters, sending gifts. Eventually I'd wear them down, maybe 60% of them.

      But if I had an unlimited list (and no cost per name), I'd just look for the easy sales.

      Two other book recommendations;

      Cold Calling Techniques That Really Work by Stephen Schiffman. A few of the example techniques shown, I've used myself with great results.

      High Probability Selling A great book on cold calling. In that book, if the prospect says "Not interested", the rep says "Not now, or not ever?" If they say "Not now" they are called back. It's a solid technique.
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      • Profile picture of the author StevenTylerPjs
        So far so good. I'm much more relaxed and have a different mindset when dialing. I'm able to brush off any rejections and continue calling my list easier. I didn't have time to do a lot of calling yet this week but on 36 calls I made 6 sales and was asked to send 3 follow-up emails with additional information.
        2 of the 6 sales were past customers.

        I'm on my second read of High Probability Selling. I downloaded it last night. I think it compliments Bill Good's book pretty well.

        It might be my new favorite. I especially like the "or not" part. It did make me cringe reading it the first times, but the explanation provided is correct and was a real eye opener.

        The only thing is I don't go for an appointment. I don't really have a need to and don't have a physical product. So I'm trying to think of a way to incorporate these things for a possible one-call close.
        Thank you for the book suggestion though Claude.

        Steve- when you were selling ad space or copywriting, did you ask for appointments or close over the phone? Have you also read High Probability Selling?
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        • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
          Originally Posted by StevenTylerPjs View Post

          So far so good. I'm much more relaxed and have a different mindset when dialing. I'm able to brush off any rejections and continue calling my list easier. I didn't have time to do a lot of calling yet this week but on 36 calls I made 6 sales and was asked to send 3 follow-up emails with additional information.
          2 of the 6 sales were past customers.

          I'm on my second read of High Probability Selling. I downloaded it last night. I think it compliments Bill Good's book pretty well.

          It might be my new favorite. I especially like the "or not" part. It did make me cringe reading it the first times, but the explanation provided is correct and was a real eye opener.
          The cold calling portion of the book is highly recommended. But the part of the book that describes their sales process? I'd ignore it. Too sterile, too cold. But to gt an appointment? Or to get them to start a conversation? Absolutely.
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          • Profile picture of the author StevenTylerPjs
            Claude what do you think about the "or not" part?

            So on a call... "is that a service you would like to get or not?"

            I like it I'm just still not sure if I'm coming off as a jerk or not.
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            • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
              Originally Posted by StevenTylerPjs View Post

              Claude what do you think about the "or not" part?

              So on a call... "is that a service you would like to get or not?"

              I like it I'm just still not sure if I'm coming off as a jerk or not.
              It sounds slightly argumentative.

              I would just say "Is that a service you would like to get?".

              But I do like ...when they say they aren't interested...ask "Not interested now..or ever?".

              It kind of hits them between the eyes, and you may get a few that like that boldness. It may also spur a conversation.
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              • Profile picture of the author StevenTylerPjs
                I sent an e-mail last week to a contact about hosting a free event at their building. They had hosted 3 years ago. I sent a follow-up today asking "Is this something you would like to participate in again this year?".

                She finally replied and said, "We didn't host last year". And that was it.

                So of course, I had to write back... I used the "or not" because I was a little annoyed. She did write back and said no. She also said that she thought maybe I had contacted the wrong property.

                I find it odd that so many people are afraid to just say "no". It's a nice gesture, but I'd rather get a definitive answer whenever possible so that I can move on. Am I get it. I'm a nice guy myself and I'm quiet. But I also like to cut to the chase. It saves time.

                I once heard, "It's the maybes that'll kill ya in sales".

                That could be a good concept for your new material too Claude.
                "No More Maybes" - how to properly prospect, qualify, and close sales.
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                • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
                  Originally Posted by StevenTylerPjs View Post

                  I sent an e-mail last week to a contact about hosting a free event at their building. They had hosted 3 years ago. I sent a follow-up today asking "Is this something you would like to participate in again this year?".

                  She finally replied and said, "We didn't host last year". And that was it.

                  So of course, I had to write back... I used the "or not" because I was a little annoyed. She did write back and said no. She also said that she thought maybe I had contacted the wrong property.

                  I find it odd that so many people are afraid to just say "no". It's a nice gesture, but I'd rather get a definitive answer whenever possible so that I can move on. Am I get it. I'm a nice guy myself and I'm quiet. But I also like to cut to the chase. It saves time.

                  I once heard, "It's the maybes that'll kill ya in sales".

                  That could be a good concept for your new material too Claude.
                  "No More Maybes" - how to properly prospect, qualify, and close sales.
                  When prospecting or selling, a "No" is actually a refreshing change.

                  The vast majority of people are polite and kind. Part of that is that they want to maintain rapport, and don't want to make you feel bad....so they draw out the "No", and invent conditions that justify why they aren't engaging with you.

                  When cold calling (NEVER with referrals) I'd rather get the quick No.

                  Think of prospecting for gold. You want to separate the gold from the mud, as quickly and efficiently as possible. You are sorting, not selling.

                  The thing that will waste all your time is trying to convert the mud into gold.

                  If I had an unlimited list, I'd go for the low hanging fruit. If the list is limited, and your potential profit is substantial, you tend to the orchard, waiting for the higher fruit to ripen and fall. Two schools of thought.
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  • Alex,

    I think the best "credit" to give clients is to thank them for running and paying for the campaign!

    The list of reasons why they can't, can't can't afford illustrious, money making copy is ..well ever expanding - (the best one " I don't have time to spend the money it'll make" - best answer "Why not save it") anyway I doubt there are enough objection handling wonder words or time to keep up.

    Just move on to the good people who need and want the service/product.

    Having said that - over the years a few clients who had to pay on the "never never" - actually did.


    Steve
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  • Hi Steve,

    I was usually making appointments but sometimes closing over the phone.

    I haven't read "High Probability Selling" (I'm surprised because I usually read or at least skim most selling books to try and grab some extra super duper copywriting techniques - thanks for mentioning it).

    Having just looked at the amazon details and reviews it does seem similarish to "Hot Prospects."

    By all means read everything to do with the noble art of selling.

    But stick with the "strategy" that works for you and gets the best results for you.

    It may be a fusion of a few similar ones - but don't try to use bucket loads of different techniques all at once because they'll get tangled up, confused and convoluted.

    You don't want this awful pain and agony affecting you - desperately trying to remember and continually repeating endless 10 step objection handling procedures.

    Or the soon to be beleaguered prospects pleading " please stop my heads in a 100 mph spin - even if I'm forced or manipulated to buy I'll cancel as soon as I recover from this torment!"


    Steve


    P.S. I remember I once battled like a demented gladiator and after maybe 17 attempts I miraculously closed the deal - and the "client" became the most difficult, awkward, obstreperous so and so ever to exist.

    After countless nightmare problems we somehow became friends and over the years joked that I had often wished 1,001 times that I had never made the sale.

    My worldly view became - the more you press gang and keep ratcheting up the unnecessary pressure to get a prospect to buy - the higher the likelihood they'll be a "difficult" customer.

    Also if you have to try and close, close and close x10 - the presentation is at fault (mainly not pre - handling the usual objections or showing enough empathy for the prospect and proving beyond a shadow of doubt that the product/service is absolutely perfect for them).

    If that's a bit of a push then say you'll do your utmost to do more than anyone else.
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  • Profile picture of the author OptedIn
    Telemarketing is a numbers game. The first time through your list your goal is to speak to as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time. By only dealing with those that are extremely interested in your offer and just thanking and moving on from the rest until a later date, you get to 'skim the cream off the surface.'

    As you repeatedly work through your list in the future, you can begin to go after those that show some interest, working on overcoming the mildest objections.

    With each passing run through your list, as you build your ability to overcome objections, you will be able to crack harder nuts. By your 6th or 7th time going through your list, should should by now be a dragon slayer, capable of overcoming any objection thrown at you and giving the impression that you are going to haunt them until they capitulate.

    If the only way they can get you off the phone is to hang up on you, consider that a standing ovation and call them back in 30 days. You may never get the sale from that person, but you will hone your skills for the next call.

    Remember though, if they have to hang up on you, you don't want them thinking that you were a rotten son of a bitch. You want them thinking, "Damn, that guy was good. A few like him working for me and I could rule the world."

    Your tone and disposition are what determines which way you'll be regarded, and remembered.
    Signature

    "He not busy being born, is busy dying." - Bob Dylan • "I vibe with the light-dark point. Heavy." - Words that Bob Dylan wishes he had written.

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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by OptedIn View Post

      Telemarketing is a numbers game. The first time through your list your goal is to speak to as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time. By only dealing with those that are extremely interested in your offer and just thanking and moving on from the rest until a later date, you get to 'skim the cream off the surface.'

      As you repeatedly work through your list in the future, you can begin to go after those that show some interest, working on overcoming the mildest objections.

      With each passing run through your list, as you build your ability to overcome objections, you will be able to crack harder nuts. By your 6th or 7th time going through your list, should should by now be a dragon slayer, capable of overcoming any objection thrown at you and giving the impression that you are going to haunt them until they capitulate.

      If the only way they can get you off the phone is to hang up on you, consider that a standing ovation and call them back in 30 days. You may never get the sale from that person, but you will hone your skills for the next call.

      Remember though, if they have to hang up on you, you don't want them thinking that you were a rotten son of a bitch. You want them thinking, "Damn, that guy was good. A few like him working for me and I could rule the world."

      Your tone and disposition are what determines which way you'll be regarded, and remembered.
      Wow. I tend to think I'm pretty hot stuff in selling....and then I read one of your posts. Singularly impressive.
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    • Profile picture of the author StevenTylerPjs
      How to you avoid being remembered as the rotten SOB that keeps calling once a month?
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      • Profile picture of the author misterme
        Originally Posted by StevenTylerPjs View Post

        How to you avoid being remembered as the rotten SOB that keeps calling once a month?
        Market to dementia patients.
        Signature
        "Best book on answering objections I have seen... it's for photographers but it has brilliant techniques you can use in any business." - Claude Whitacre. When They Say That, You Say This (Amazon Kindle)
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  • or call every 6 weeks!

    Seriously what's the worst that can happen if you call back or just call once? - any "cold calls" can be irritating to some (worse case a few expletives).

    Anyway...

    If you do a "Hot Prospect" style 20 - 30 sec pitch.

    No pressure, no hassle, no annoyance.

    Prospects usually answer "yes" or "no."

    When the "no's" are bracing themselves expecting endless grief.

    There isn't any.


    Steve


    P.S. After 4 - 6 weeks most will have forgotten you called.

    Do remember using the "Hot Prospects" techniques you are rarely seen as a perpetual pain in the neck.

    Once every so often you may get a prospect who rants and raves - "Stop bleeping calling!"

    You apologise and say you'll never call again.

    And peace prevails.
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  • Profile picture of the author StevenTylerPjs
    UPDATE

    Good week this week. I went through a lot of calls, but it was painless. I used a combination of Hot Prospects and High Probability Prospecting. I was easy to say "no" to. I didn't try to overcome any objections, I only answered questions that some had. I got 11 closes which get me $150-$300 per close. For me that's a good week.
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  • Profile picture of the author TheTwoPointZero
    That is great. Congrats. What are you selling if you do not mind me asking?
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    • Profile picture of the author StevenTylerPjs
      thanks. This was actually advertising for Daycares and Pre-schools. So Claudes book on selling advertising to local businesses came in handy as well. I read that one again last week.

      So my list wasn't unlimited, but it's over 1,000 names long and I'm nowhere near the end.
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  • Profile picture of the author TheTwoPointZero
    Oh that is interesting. Then the daycares and preschools pay you for getting people to put their kids there?
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